Kate Bennett,
Over the Moon
(Katedid, 1999)

Over the Moon is this Santa Barbara, California-based singer's debut album, and it's a fine one at that. Kenny Loggins, Jim Messina and guitarist Jeff Pevar lend their support to this New Jersey native's fine talent.

Kate Bennett's music reminds me of '70s folk-country and pop but with a more polished sound. Although it's not mentioned in her biographical information, she seems to have been influenced by Native American culture and the natural world around her from the woods and sea to wolves and birds -- it's evident in her songwriting. Her easy to listen to and at times ethereal voice is well suited to her songs.

"Dangerous Wind" has an earthy sound and showcases her ability to write deep meaningful lyrics without sounding too deep. I find that some singer-songwriters oversing or dramatize their written words while singing them in an effort to make sure the listeners "get it" instead of letting them figure it out on their own. Bennett does not do this, as her work is listenable on two different levels -- an "I just want to sit back, relax and let my imagination go where it will" level or an "I'm searching for a deeper meaning in life and want to connect with the world around me" level.

I really enjoy the title track, "Over the Moon." This is a catchy song about once having been in a desperate kind of love, a love that now is over the moon. This is very clever. I also especially enjoy "Wolf Song," co-written with Loggins. (I tend to listen to this one in the "searching for a deeper meaning and wanting to connect level.") Understandably, it makes me think of wolves, but it also makes me think of my own basic nature as a human being of longing to protect those I love and to be at one with nature.

The percussive arrangements are wonderful and fit nicely with the overall cohesiveness of the album. I just wish the liner notes listed exactly what percussive instruments were played. (After my minor complaint about the liner notes, I must point out that full lyrics are provided.)

This CD is good for when I want to relax and connect to the natural world and life around me without having to actually go out into the woods or even leave my house -- I can just take a little journey in my mind from the living room.

by Erika S. Rabideau
11 February 2006

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